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Thanksgiving Desperation - Help!

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This year I am assigned to do cornbread, mashed potatoes and a green vegetable. I need your best recipes, b/c I am traveling and have no time to work on this.

My cornbread is always dry - want moist and easy but not cheesy.

For potatoes, I'd love some that you can make and then reheat in the oven. Does this exist.

Finally, my standard, roasted brussel sprouts with pancetta has been nixed. Thinking about doing roasted cippoline onions and green beans with balsamic butter, but any other suggestions are welcome.

Thank you so much!

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  1. Okay, so these are sorta semi-homemade recipes but they are what I immediately thought of when you said you wanted moist cornbread and potatoes that could be reheated in the oven.

    This is often the recipe I use when I make cornbread, it's kind of more of a spoonbread. It's extremely moist and travels well. http://www.chowhound.com/topics/show/...

    And the potatoes... I prefer these, because you don't necessarily need gravy and I've had enough bad gravy in my lifetime! http://www.donogh.com/cooking/holiday... We use fresh minced garlic, of course!

    Definitely not low-fat or high class recipes, but they're good, easy, and can be made ahead! Hope that helps!

    1. What about twice baked potatoes? Technically, they're mashed, and just put back in the skins. My mom always does them ahead of time and puts them in the fridge and then re-heats.


      1. Corn breads need to be eaten hot out of the oven when it is really fresh. For potatoes you might do a gratin with a lot of heavy/whipping cream. That would travel and stay creamy. Don't skimp on the butter either.

        1. Definitely don't skimp on butter. When the corn bread comes out of the oven, I poke it all over with a fork and spread butter over it all. I've posted the Durgin Park recipe often since that's my favorite. It's slightly sweet, cakey, though, if you're looking for a southern type, it's not like that. If you do the southern style, you can put the cast iron skillet in the oven first so when it's all good and hot, add the batter to get a crunchy crust. Also, keep an eye out on it because it's easy to overcook.

          1. A scalloped-potato or potato gratin is very forgiving and can be prepared in advance and baked before serving, pre-baked almost all the way (covered) and then finished and browned at the end, or even prepared ahead and nuked in the microwave.

            Don't stress -- you are doing sides! Compliment the turkey, enjoy the wine, and have a nice holiday with your family and friends!

            1. Here's my secret for moist, non-sweet, non-cake-like cornbread: the substitution of canned pumpkin for part of the milk/buttermilk. I have long been using the Cooks Illustrated recipe for Northern Cornbread as my base, with a few tweaks. The pumpkin adds a nice subtle layer of flavor, and because there's not much sugar, it's perfectly suited for breakfast or dinner. It's especially yummy warm with butter (but then, what isn't?). This version travels well and keeps well without drying out, as long as it's wrapped nicely in plastic wrap and foil.

              So, here's my version:

              Litchick's Northern Pumpkin Cornbread

              Use stone-ground or water-ground cornmeal for the best taste and texture, either yellow or white.

              1 cup yellow cornmeal (or white), stone-ground
              1 cup unbleached all-purpose flour
              2 teaspoons baking powder
              1/2 teaspoon baking soda
              4 teaspoons granulated sugar
              1/2 teaspoon table salt
              2 large eggs
              1 cup canned pure pumpkin (not spiced pie filling)
              1/2 cup milk or buttermilk (or a combo of both, to your taste)
              2 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted, plus extra softened butter for greasing the pan

              1. Adjust oven rack to center position and heat to 425 degrees. Grease a 9-by-9-by-2-inch metal pan.

              2. Stir cornmeal, flour, baking powder, baking soda, sugar, and salt in large bowl. Push dry ingredients up side of bowl to make a well.

              3. Crack eggs into well and stir lightly with wooden spoon, then add pumpkin and milk. Stir wet and dry ingredients quickly until almost combined. You may need to add a touch more milk depending on the consistency of your canned pumpkin. Add melted butter; stir until ingredients are just combined.

              4. Pour batter into greased pan. [If you'd like, sprinkle a small amount of sugar over the top] Bake until top is golden brown and lightly cracked and edges have pulled away from side of pan, about 25 minutes.

              5. Transfer pan to wire rack to cool slightly, 5 to 10 minutes. Cut cornbread into squares and serve warm. (Pan can be wrapped in foil up to 1 day. Reheat cornbread in a 350-degree oven for 10 to 15 minutes.)

              2 Replies
              1. re: litchick

                litchick, your recipe sounds awesome! I'm intrigued by the addition of the pumpkin. Will have to try it. Thanks for sharing your recipe.

                1. re: litchick

                  just wanted to say thanks if you're still posting - I really liked this cornbread, it was not a strong flavor but nice and moist. I used fresh squash that had been frozen and thawed so that could add to the flavor as well. Thanks, I will make this again as it was also very easy to mix up.

                2. Were the brussel sprouts nixed entirely? You can do them w/out pancetta and bread and fry them instead. This is a dish that my whole family fights over and guards in the kitchen to make sure nobody is picking at before serving!
                  A little beaten egg, bread crumbs/panko of your choice, nice hot pan, salt and pepper. Yum!